Four-day week trial a success
In the second half of 2022, a six-month trial of the four-day working week was organised by campaigning group 4 Day Week Global and monitored by academics from Oxford and Cambridge Universities and Boston College.
93% of the participating companies (56 of the 61 taking part) have extended the four-day working week, while 18 of the companies taking part have made the change permanent. 4 Day Week Global's report which examines the impacts of the trial, identifies "extensive benefits" particularly for employee wellbeing. Surveys taken before and after the trial found that 39% of those employees taking part considered that they were less stressed, 40% were sleeping better and 54% found it easier to balance work and home responsibilities.
The companies taking part were satisfied with productivity and business performance during the trial. Sick days fell by about two-thirds and 57% fewer staff left the companies taking part compared with the same period a year earlier.
The 4 Day Week Campaign said that it aimed to persuade hundreds more companies to adopt the four-day week with no loss of pay for workers. The campaign aims to shift the current work culture norm of a 40-hour week five days a week to 32-hour weeks.
Recently Sainsbury's, the UK's second largest supermarket, said it would trial offering some employees the chance to work four days a week. This trial does not involve a cut in total hours but allows workers to squeeze the same number of hours into four days.
The findings of the trial are due to be presented to MPs as part of efforts to promote a 32-hour week for workers in Britain.